Woods opens with 2-under 70

If such a feat is possible, then Tiger Woods put up a quiet

2-under-par 70 in the first round of the Masters on Thursday as

Australia’s Marc Leishman and Sergio Garcia both fired a 66 to

share the lead.

Woods, heavily favored coming into the tournament, made a bogey

at No. 14 and saw a short birdie putt slide by the hole on No. 15

to mar what could have been an even better start to the season’s

first major tournament.

Woods has already won three times this year and reclaimed his

No. 1 spot in the world rankings. But he hasn’t captured a major

since 2008, and it’s been eight years since he claimed his fourth

green jacket at Augusta. He is still four majors shy of tying Jack

Nicklaus’ record 18 championships — a mark that becomes a little

more daunting each time the 37-year-old Woods fails to win one of

golf’s biggest events.

Maybe this will be the week he breaks the longest major-less

drought of his career.

”I feel comfortable with every aspect of my game,” Woods said

beforehand. ”I feel that I’ve improved and I’ve gotten more

consistent, and I think the wins show that.”

Leishman shot a 6-under 66 and surged to the front with four

straight birdies on the back side starting at No. 13. Not bad,

considering the Australian had missed the cut in his only other

Masters appearance in 2010.

Garcia played a bogey-free first round to grab the share of the

lead.